Skin patches instead of needles: can nanotechnology vaccinate the world?

Skin patches instead of needles: can nanotechnology vaccinate the world?

'Mark Kendall and his colleagues have shown they are able to coat nanopatch microprojections with a vaccine, apply the nanopatch to the skin and achieve vaccination with one tenth to one thirtieth of the dose required using traditional needle and syringe approaches.


Is it worth all this effort to find an alternative? (to a needle - Neil)

Actually yes. At least 10% of the population has needle phobia, and actively avoid being vaccinated by needles.

Furthermore, the World Health Organisation estimates there are 1.3 million deaths which occur each year from needlestick injuries and cross contamination.


The future of this technology looks bright not only for vaccine delivery, but also for other diseases and injuries where targeting the body’s immune cells is an important component of treatment. Examples include influenza, cholera, polio and rabies.'

Tristan Clemons, Research Fellow in Bionanotechnology, University of Western Australia explains how these patches work and the benefits of replacing technology that is 160 years old:


6 Replies

  • Science / technology is allowing for many more options in health care interventions. Your conversation regarding vaccine delivery devices speaks to this. Other options include nasal spray and intradermal patches. It would be important to know the efficacy of each.

  • I'm running out of words. Stupendous photo Neil.

    My husband uses slow release pain patches. Works where a injection wouldn't.


  • As nanopatches become the norm, and less antibiotic has to be used (am I understanding that to be so?) It will be interesting to see if there is any change in resistance problems. Would be nice, but not likely I guess, if the cost for treatment could be cut some.

  • It's less of the vaccine that would be needed per inoculation - antibiotics weren't mentioned. That wouldn't change the cost, but importantly, would make mass vaccinations in the event of a serious outbreak much quicker to implement, since the limiting factor on how many people can be vaccinated is how quickly the culture used to create the vaccine can be grown.

    I expect there will be less side effects too, from the reduced amount of vaccine administered.

  • You are so right, antibiotics weren't mentioned. (i have some concern for my brain function right now.)

  • Join the club!

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